Cross town road plans on contaminated site waiting for developer

The view from the top of the Whittaker-Bermite site shows Entrance Valley that includes many old buildings -- some from the munitions factory, others just movie props. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal 07102014

Building a road that connects major portions of the city across the contaminated Whittaker-Bermite site is just a developer away, according to city officials.

As the conclusion of the more than three-decade cleanup effort of the site nears, the city does not yet have specific plans to begin construction of a road to offset congestion that exists on other nearby major cross-valley roads.

At any rate, construction of a road wouldn’t begin until after the state verifies the site has been properly cleaned up and gives the okay to begin developing, say city officials.

The thoroughfare will be built in the city when the right developer comes along, city Senior Planner James Chow said.

The question is: who might build develop and build on the site.

“The city is fortunate that we constantly have developers expressing interest in that land,” City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan said. “Santa Clarita is a desirable location and developers are always looking for opportunities within the city.”

As for a possible route, a new road would most likely connect between Magic Mountain Parkway and Via Princessa.

“We certainly have goals and a vision,” Chow said. “There is nothing at this point as far as pending plans to develop the property.”

On both a state and local level, there are opportunities for grant funding for the site, Chow said, such as with past road projects funded by L.A. Metro grants.

Pursuing development is dependent on the conclusion of the cleanup, the senior planner said.

Development for Whittaker-Bermite, however, does not yet have a timeline of when development might begin, Chow said.

“It depends on a developer that comes forward to work with city to develop the site,” he said.

The city’s key objective, in addition to connecting the three roads, include making sure cleanup is monitored and done in a timely manner, Chow said.

Contamination of the soil and water comes from an old munitions factory that once operated on the land. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has been overseeing the cleanup of 996 contaminated acres in the heart of the SCV.

And the state agency expects the cleanup to be completed sometime next year.

However, once cleaned, Whittaker-Bermite will only be suitable for commercial development, restaurants, parks, schools, recreation and open space.  Home building won’t be allowed.

When it is time to develop, he said, the city has a jobs-to-homes goal of two to one.

“The city does see economy and employment opportunities here,” Chow said. “Development of site will and should provide employment and economic benefits and really create jobs.”


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